Every year around this time I really feel like my eating habits could slip, big time. In January I’m pretty amped up on New Year’s resolutions and excited about eating healthy. By mid-February I’m pretty tired of the cold and just don’t have the energy to put into cooking up a healthy meal every night. Frozen veggie burgers and heavy pasta dinners can really start to sound appealing.
I recently got my hands on a copy of No Excuses Detox from Megan Gilmore of Detoxinista, and I’m pretty darn impressed. This book is full of meals that are not only easy and healthy, but hearty and tasty enough to satisfy me amid my winter grumpiness.
The zucchini “pasta” primavera is the first recipe I tried from the book, and it was exactly what I needed. The entire dish is made from veggies, so it’s super healthy, but it’s served piping hot and loaded with garlic and spices, so it’s flavorful and satisfying. The recipe comes together in one pot in under a half hour, so it’s totally doable on a weeknight.
You will get an enormous batch of food out of this one. The recipe serves two, and as this was cooking up I repeatedly commented to my husband that there was no way the two of us would be able to finish off the whole batch. But we did, and loved every bite of it, and when all was said and done, instead whining about being stuffed and falling asleep on the couch like I might normally do after a big batch of pasta, I had plenty of energy to do the dishes and high five the hubs about polishing off several pounds of veggies. We even skipped the Parmesan cheese in lieu of some nutritional yeast flakes, to keep the dish vegan, but it was no less satisfying.
Zucchini noodles stand in for pasta in this flavorful, satisfying, and healthy spin on pasta primavera from No Excuses Detox.
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pound asparagus, tough stems removed, chopped (see Note)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Using a spiralizer, turn the zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles or use a vegetable peeler to create long, thin zucchini ribbons, then set them aside.
- In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and carrot for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and asparagus and sauté until all the veggies are tender, about 8 minutes more. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini noodles, tomatoes, salt, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and sauté until the zucchini is tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
When asparagus isn’t in season, feel free to use chopped broccoli as a substitute.
Reprinted with permission from No Excuses Detox, copyright © 2017 by Megan Gilmore, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography copyright © 2017 by Erin Scott